Places that inspire. Trapper’s Lodge and it’s stony inhabitants.

Beginning in 1951, John Ehn created haunting pioneer portraits for his Old Trapper’s Lodge that once stood near the old Burbank airport.

John Ehn’s cement and paint pioneers are politically incorrect, sometimes violent, always full of wit and more than a little creepy.

Peg Leg Smith and Big Bear are in battle in this life size cement sculpture.Peg Leg Smith plunges a knife into Big Bear's cement side.

Anguish on the face of Big Bear. A fight ensues. John Ehn's Trapper's Lodge.The Old Trapper's travels drawn on slate and placed into the ground.Gravestones on Boot Hill. John Ehn's Trapper's Lodge, Burbank. CA.

Iron Foot Ella's gravestone. John Ehn's Trapper's Lodge.

A close up of a female figure. John Ehn's Trapper's Lodge.A close up of a blonde saloon girl. John Ehn's Trapper's Lodge.A saloon girl in cement and paint. John Ehn's Trapper's Lodge, Burbank. CA.The saloon girl in detail. John Ehn's Trapper's Lodge.This cement and paint saloon girl has a derringer strapped to her thigh.A close up of Lonesome George at John Ehn's Trapper's Lodge.A black and white photo of John Ehn's sculptures at the original Trapper's Lodge, Burbank. CA.Like S.P. Dinsmoor’s Garden Of Eden in Lucas, Kansas (I might get to those photos soon), John Ehn populated his story-filled setting with lively and foreboding pioneer spirits—complete with their own ominous Boot Hill epitaphs.

Three years after the self-taught artist’s death in 1981, they’d been designated a state cultural landmark, but that was no assurance that they would be protected from city development.  An airport expansion soon threatened them and they were miraculously moved out of harm’s way to a grotto 26 minutes away behind the stables at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, just a half hour west of Hollywood on Highway 101 and where they can be seen today.

There are easily more than 50 pieces, and some of the cement inhabitants are on fully decorated and very heavy bases. No one seems to know who undertook the arduous task of moving these heavy characters, or even who maintains them to this day.

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